An S-2T marine patrol aircraft that played a significant role in the defense of Taiwan against China has been decommissioned from service, but is set to be exhibited at a new Republic of China (ROC) Air Force Academy facility later this year.
The S-2T was flown from an air force’s base in Pingtung County to the Air Force Academy in Kaohsiung earlier this week, which was its last flight mission and has since been decommissioned, the academy said.
The aircraft is to be “stationed” there and exhibited at the academy’s new aviation education hall scheduled to open in August, the academy said.
The engines are to remain in the aircraft, which is to be kept in good condition to ensure it is airworthy to participate in important occasions in the future, it added.
The S-2T was delivered to Taiwan in 1985 and participated in many important war games and military drills, the academy said.
The most noteworthy incident was when it identified a Chinese submarine, which was collecting intelligence on Taiwan as close as 12.5 nautical miles (23km) off the coast of Tainan, during the Han Kuang military exercises in 1994, the academy said.
Along with other ships from the ROC Navy, the aircraft was later deployed to conduct a marine patrol operation to expel the Chinese submarine, it added.
The aircraft is among a fleet of 11 S-2Ts being decommissioned, a process that is scheduled to be completed by 2017 — the S-2Ts are to be replaced by 12 P-3C aircraft that Taiwan is purchasing from the US, it added.
The remaining four aircraft are scheduled to be delivered by the end of this year, with all aircraft to go into service in early 2017.
The P-3C is said to be the most capable of Lockheed’s P-3 marine patrol aircraft.
The US government approved the sale of the 12 P-3Cs with T-56 turboprop engines and related equipment and services in 2007, at an estimated cost of US$1.96 billion.
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